Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

September 24, 2009 16:13 ET

Government agency breaches confidentiality

Highly sensitive information given to private polling firm

Attention: Assignment Editor, News Editor, Sports Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor ON, O.F.A.H. MEDIA RELEASE--(Marketwire - Sept. 24, 2009) - Earlier this week, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.), along with the Canadian Shooting Sports Association (C.S.S.A.) and other organizations representing firearms owners across Canada, became aware of an apparent breach of confidentiality involving information contained in the firearms registration system. This breach strongly justifies earlier calls to scrap the system, as proposed in Bill C-391, currently before the House of Commons.

Ekos Research, a private sector polling company, was contracted by the Canadian Firearms Centre (C.F.C.) to conduct a survey of firearms owners across Canada, and was provided with personal information about firearms owners by the C.F.C., in an apparent breach of privacy and confidentiality. Worse still, the Minister of Public Safety, who is responsible for the C.F.C. and its parent body, the R.C.M.P., was not consulted prior to the release of the information.

"The fact that the C.F.C. would provide highly sensitive information identifying individual firearms owners to an outside polling firm is a travesty," said Greg Farrant, O.F.A.H. Manager of Government Relations and Communications. "For years, licensed, law-abiding firearms owners have pointed to repeated abuses and breakdowns in what is supposed to be a highly confidential system. When the Liberal government created the system under Bill C-68, they insisted that a violation of this nature would not occur, despite being warned by the firearms community and Opposition members at the time that the potential for serious abuse existed. We hope that this will finally convince Opposition Members in Parliament of the need to scrap the system by supporting Candice Hoeppner's Bill C-391, which simply proposes to repeal the long gun portion of the firearms system."

The apparent release of information to Ekos, which occurred in violation of government policy, and without the knowledge and approval of the Minister, who in any case would not authorize the release of such information, is the latest in a long line of procedural gaffs and financial disasters associated with the ill-fated long gun registry, which has cost Canadian taxpayers almost $2 billion to date.

"We are profoundly concerned that an apparent violation has occurred, which has provided a private business with information that is supposed be closely guarded. The government has referred this matter to the Privacy Commissioner for a ruling on whether the Act has been breached, an action we strongly support. It is inexcusable that information of this nature should be made so readily available. The timing of this action is highly suspect, given the apparent source of the information, and the fact that Second Reading of Bill C-391 to scrap the long gun registry is scheduled in the House of Commons next week," said Farrant.

With over 100,000 members, subscribers and supporters, and 660 member clubs, the O.F.A.H. is the largest nonprofit conservation-based, fish and hunting organization in Ontario and the voice of anglers and hunters. For more information, visit www.ofah.org.

/For further information: Lezlie Goodwin
Communications Coordinator
705 748-6324 ext 270

Contact Information

  • Greg Farrant, Manager, Government Relations and Communications, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters
    Primary Phone: 705-748-6324 ext. 236
    Secondary Phone: 705-875-0274
    E-mail: greg_farrant@ofah.org